Breaking Blocks - Base 10 Counting

Computational Thinker


Seesaw is a web-based and application platform where students can post pictures from the classroom, annotate, speak their mind, and create electronic portfolios that connect school and home. Parents are able to see student work as soon as it is posted.

In this activity, students will solve a base 10 math problem and explain their thinking using SeeSaw.

Students will:

  • Be able to break down a number into 10’s and 1’s and then explain their reasoning in a SeeSaw post.  
  1. Base 10: Base 10 is a counting System based on 1’s and 10’s.

  2. Base 10 Blocks: Base 10 blocks are single blocks and rods of 10 used for counting.

  1. Before the lesson, teachers must set up SeeSaw accounts for their class and invite parents to join.

  2. Students should also know the basic features of SeeSaw.

  3. Teachers will need the following:

    • Base 10 blocks available to students

Note: SeeSaw has many other tutorials on their website and Help Center

Directions for this activity:

  1. Students have been working on counting using single blocks and rods of 10.

  2. The students will each be given a number and practice breaking that number into groups of 10’s and 1’s.

  3. Students will pick one number to break down. For example, 24.

  4. The teacher will instruct students to break down the number into 10’s and 1’s and then take a picture of their grouping using SeeSaw.

  5. Students will take the picture and then use the annotate tool to count their blocks, showing their 1:1 counting skills and understanding of 10’s and 1’s.

Base 10 numbers

      6. Students then record their thinking using the microphone.

      7. Student’s press the green check mark when finished.

      8. Here is a photo of the steps to add and explain a photo in SeeSaw:

SeeSaw tools

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • Teachers can see what students have posted to their journal from the Teacher side of SeeSaw. They are able to leave feedback for students and intervene with any students who do not get the Base 10 concept.

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Computational Thinker
5c. Students break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving.

SeeSaw works on all devices, but works best on devices with a camera. iPads will not run the virtual manipulatives because they do not have Flash Player.

iOS App

Base 10 Virtual Option

Getting Students Started Sign in With a Code

Getting Students Started Sign in With Email

Getting Student Started Sign in With Google



  • Students use base 10 counting in math for kindergarten-second grade learning. Students individually being able to explain how they count base 10 blocks shows their depth of knowledge about counting, grouping and sorting at a depth of knowledge where they can explain it to someone else.

This task card was created by Lacey Khon, KRESA, November 2018. Updated October 2023.